DHS solicits bids for user fee-based GTX pilot
House lawmakers seek answers on CSDs, GTX
Chertoff provides update on 10+2, GTX
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s request for contractors to bid on the controversial Global Trade Exchange data-mining project for international shipments is on the street.
The department released the draft request for quotation to congressional oversight committees on Tuesday and is expected to publicly post the final version soon.
GTX is another attempt to gain more complete information than is currently collected through regulatory means about the history of a shipment and do risk analysis to determine shipping containers that need to be inspected before arrival at a destination port. DHS conceptualizes a private sector-run data clearinghouse supported by user fees that would collect purchase orders and other transaction-level communications between companies and their suppliers, and make them available to DHS and governments around the world as needed.
The Web-based trade information system would also be available to commercial participants as well to gain visibility into the status of their shipments. Governments could input data into the system, as well.
DHS is seeking a contractor to run a small pilot project to test the concept by recruiting volunteer companies willing to share their commercial information.
According to the statement of work, the GTX information broker must make the information available to participating customs agencies around the clock in the appropriate technical format. Data integrity, information security, compatibility with existing Customs and Border Protection systems, and reasonable end-user cost will be important considerations in selecting the winning bidder. The trial program will last at least six months during the one-year contract period. The contract includes an option to extend the program for one year.
The requirements for the contractor include collecting, integrating, displaying and transmitting data and images from multiple sources to foreign governments in their preferred format, and coordinating the participation of all supply chain parties (foreign host governments and shippers) providing information to GTX. Vendor business plans should demonstrate how the GTX model could be sustained over the long term, it said.
Potential data sought by DHS includes purchase orders, fulfillment schedules and invoices, status messages from radio frequency identification tags and container security devices, vessel transponder data, production management records, inventory records, and advance ship notices.
The system should also handle collection and transmission of CBP’s proposed “10+2” Secure Filing data elements to CBP automated programs.
The reference to images strongly implies that the system could be used as a way for shippers and logistics companies to upload video of container packing and sealing at the origin facility or terminal operators and governments to upload X-ray images and radiation detection reads of containers taken at the port of origin so customs agencies in other countries can review them in near real time or in an archive.
CBP, which is managing the project for the department, is requiring that the contractor work with at least three foreign governments, up to 10 shippers and carriers that will provide supply chain data at regular intervals, and that it provide the agency unlimited access to the data at no cost. Each GTX industry participant must provide data on at least 100 import or export transactions per month from Europe, the Pacific Rim or the Middle East.
All the data inputs related to a transaction must be linked together to create a supply chain record.
As previously reported, the department will select the contractor under a fast-track process known as EAGLE that uses pre-vetted vendors and pre-negotiated terms.
Bids are due by noon on Jan. 22.
Many companies that trade internationally have voiced strong concerns that the data-mining project undermines their proprietary data, which they feel could be compromised if it falls in the hands of unscrupulous governments. Industry representatives pleaded with DHS to share its procurement plans in advance so they could help design the system from the ground up.
“I am disappointed that the department made the decision to move forward on this initiative without seeking greater industry input prior to issuing the Request for Quotation,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, in an e-mail.
“The lack of transparency is troubling given the fact that industry representatives have been trying for months to gain information about this initiative. This is yet another example of the department’s failure to promote a strong public-private partnership.”
For a full list of Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading-Edge Solutions (EAGLE) contractors, go to: www.dhs.gov/xopnbiz/opportunities/gc_1162931616739.shtm#0. ' Eric Kulisch